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Getting in touch with Professors before applying to Universities should be part of your Graduate School Admission strategy. You can use the sample email template to contact professors. One of the blog reader used the email template contact a professors and got reply, but he feels disappointed with the reply

I contacted a professor in XXXXXXX. But his response isn’t very encouraging. What should I reply him? Did I go wrong anywhere in the mail I sent him?

Email to Professor

Following was the email sent to the professor.

Dear Dr.XXXXXX,

I, XXXXXX, am pursuing bachelor’s degree in electrical  engineering at Anna University, Chennai, India. I am applying for MS(EE)  program offered by XXXXX  in Fall 2010. I am interested in joining your research group at the Multimedia and Networking Lab.

I studied your article “Hand Gesture-based Computing for Hearing and Speech Impaired,” which appeared in the IEEE Multimedia Magazine. I am currently working on a voice controlled robot for physically challenged persons. I am very much interested in the part that deals with generation of gestures from  speech input. I would like to contribute to your work in that area.

Will you be accepting students into your lab for the year 2010? I would be glad if you could direct me to few other related publications.

Thanks for your time. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Reply from Professor

You can touch base after you arrive here. However, I do not have any funding for Masters’ students.

MS or PhD?

What do you expect a professor to say to you? Getting financial aid is not as easy as you think, you have to prove to them, your ability, skills and problem solving skills when work is assigned to you. You can do that by working for a professor for 1 or 2 semesters.  You said 3 lines about your project, with that you cannot expect to get financial  aid.

We have said many time about very high chances of getting admission to PhD with financial aid along with admission in numerous blog posts. Above reply makes things very clear about financial aid.

You approach is right and not many professors usually respond to prospective students applying to Masters degree. If you have stated that you are interested in PhD, response will be very different ( positive according to you). Feel happy that you got reply and they have funding for PhD, so consider applying for PhD to the same University.

Related : Check do you have  What It Takes to Complete PhD.